Burford Capital, the leading global law-focused finance and asset management firm, today announces that it has reached an important milestone in its groundbreaking initiative designed to increase diversity in the field of law, with more than $100 million in cumulative commitments to the Equity Project of commercial litigation and arbitrations led by racially diverse lawyers.
The Equity Project directs legal funding capital to promote diversity by giving historically underrepresented attorneys an edge as they pursue leadership positions in important commercial litigation and arbitrations. The Equity Project also bolsters companies’ ESG and DEI initiatives by encouraging the firms that represent them to nominate historically underrepresented lawyers and award them originator credit.
The Equity Project was first launched in October 2018 with $50 million earmarked to support women-led business ventures. After committing more than that amount by December 2020, Burford announced an expansion of The Equity Project in October 2021, allocating an additional $100 million, expanding The Equity Project’s mission to promote both racial diversity and gender in law, and pledging to contribute a portion of its profits from the successful resolution of Phase Two issues of the Equity Project to organizations that promote the development of racially diverse female and male lawyers on behalf of his clients.
As of February 28, with more than half of Phase Two funds committed, Burford has now made more than $100 million in cumulative commitments for Project Equity issues.
Cases funded to date in this phase of the Equity Project include contract disputes, antitrust, federal legislative cases, intellectual property/patent and treaty arbitration matters, with female litigators and of various races in leadership roles (first or second president) as well as women-owned businesses. Clients include large corporations and large litigation boutiques.
Aviva Will, co-COO of Burford Capital and leader of The Equity Project, said: “We are delighted with the overwhelming response to phase two of The Equity Project, particularly from corporate clients, and this is reflected in the fact that we have reached this important milestone in a short time. The Equity Project is central to Burford’s culture and part of our daily work, and we look forward to committing the remaining funding soon.
David Perla, co-COO of Burford Capital, said: “I am very pleased to see the rapid commitment of our capital in phase two of The Equity Project. As an industry leader, we recognize that we may be the only commercial legal finance company with the resources to make such a significant financial commitment to increasing diversity in the law. We recognize our unique position and take the significant impact Burford can have on the legal marketplace seriously in all the work we do.
The Equity Project is supported by 26 champions from leading companies, law firms and organizations. A list of champions and more information about The Equity Project can be found on Burford’s website.
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